By Amy Westervelt

I did not move to Oakland for its dog friendliness. I didn't even have a dog at the time--I was just looking for more space and better weather--but once I got one I was happy to discover that I was living in a remarkably dog-friendly zone.

My dog has introduced me to many miles of Oakland trails and accompanied me everywhere from small boutiques to restaurant patios to walk-up coffee windows. The debate over whether or not to allow dogs in various areas will always rage on, of course, and I'm not one of those people who thinks it's cool for my dog's hair to be all up in your cheeseburger, but I do appreciate being able to bring that little guy with me from time to time.

I've spent copious hours Googling "dog-friendly Oakland" and testing out various spots, so you don't have to. Here are some of my favorite finds:


Coffee - Monkey Forest Road, 3265 Grand Ave., (510) 327-2400

I like coffee, especially fancy coffee, and when I'm out for a walk around Lake Merritt with my dog, I always really wish I had a latte in my hand. Now I can! Monkey Forest Road opened its walk-up coffee window several months ago, specifically to serve customers accompanied by dogs. They also serve excellent Verve coffee, delicious cold-brewed ice coffee, and assorted pastries--including several gluten-free options.


Breakfast - Blackberry Bistro, 4240 Park Blvd., (510) 336-1088

Park yourself and your pup at an outdoor table at this Glenview favorite and chow down on Southern breakfast fare, including delicious buttermilk biscuits and creamy grits.




Chucho enjoying a hike at Roberts Park

Hike - Roberts Recreational Area: Dunn Trail + Roberts Park, 10570 Skyline Blvd.


This was the first off-leash dog trail I tackled in Oakland and it's still my favorite. From the Dunn Trail trailhead you can take various alternate routes and they're all great. Added bonus: You can bring your dog, on-leash, to the children's playground at Roberts (which you can access via the Dunn Trail). This is huge, as getting a kid and a dog out at the same time can often seem like a Herculean task and my dog is the sort of dog that, if tied up to a bench to wait while my son plays, would drive everyone else out of the park with his yowling.


Lunch - Homeroom, 400 40th St., (510) 597-0400

Dogs are welcome at any of this mac-and-cheese restaurant's five outdoor tables, and servers often bring the dog water (and treats!) before the people. This place is super dog friendly, and now that it has an awning, it's also a nice place for dogs to cool off on a hot day.


Dinner - Bocanova, 55 Webster St., (510) 444-1233

Dogs are happy lounging on the enormous outdoor patio at this Jack London favorite, where you can choose any number of delicious Latin-inspired dishes from the restaurant's equally enormous menu and enjoy a pleasant view to boot.


Beer - Beer Revolution, 464 3rd St., (510) 452-2337

As if you needed any more reasons to hang out at Beer Revolution, it's so dog friendly it has a Facebook page devoted to The Dogs of Beer Revolution. That plus the dozens of craft beers on tap make this a hard spot to beat on a sunny afternoon.


Shop (Home Goods) - Entrez! Open House, 100 Grand Ave., (510) 268-9101

Tons of super-cute gift and home items here, ranging from small furniture items to leather-bound notebooks, Alessi cookware to Marimekko printed aprons. Dogs are allowed, but space is somewhat cramped, so just watch the tail!


Shop (Vintage) - Treasure Island Flea Market

Maybe TI is technically San Francisco, but it's closer to Oakland, so I like to claim it as ours. The monthly market features local vendors, artists and food trucks and not only are dogs allowed at the market, they also have plenty of room to roam around the island.


Shop (Accessories) - Good Stock, 4198 Piedmont Ave., (510) 653-8518

This is one of those really well-curated stores where there isn't one thing you wouldn't buy for yourself or as a gift for a friend. Great jewelry and bags, non-toxic cosmetics, essential oil-based fragrances, handmade leather wallets, high-end candles, custom-made shirts, the list goes on and on and it's all capped off by the fact that I can bring my dog in with me!


Shop (Clothes) - Oak Common, 3231 Grand Ave., (510) 285-6629

A great addition to Grand Avenue, this open, airy shop has the perfect proportion of stuff to space that makes for an ideal shopping-with-dog outing. It also sells super-cute clothes and accessories for men and women from harder-to-find brands like Jack, Minkpink and BB Dakota.


Stay - Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel - 10 Washington St., (510) 836-3800

This local hotel chain does a fantastic job on both rooms and service, and the Jack London location also allows pets. Many of the restaurants here allow dogs on their patios, and there's plenty of room to walk him or her as well. (Prices range from $130 - $175 per night).


Learn more about Amy.